Seattle has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to dining options.  You could dine out in a different place every night of the week for  years and still not have a repeat visit to any restaurant. But if you are looking to mix things up a bit find the kitchens cooking with sumac, chickpeas, honey and mint, it will inevitably lead you to the Middle Eastern restaurants in town. Seattle has some of the best spots around to pick up on the tastes coming out of the Middle East. Here’s a few that are sure to satisfy.

A dish at Cafe Munir (Photo: Jenise Silva)


Cafe Munir
2408 NW 80th St.
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 783-4190
cafemunir.com

Tucked away in the cozy neighborhood of Loyal Heights, dining at Café Munir is like breaking bread in the home of your  family or close friends. One reason there is such a familial feel is that Café Munir serves their Lebanese cuisine in such a way that encourages sharing amongst your dinner companions. There are a slew of mezzes to choose from, including the Hommous bi Lahm ou Snobar which is their classic tahini with sizzling lamb sprinkled with pine nuts.  Or you might fancy the Salatat Alkhareef — kabocha squash with plenty of spices and pomegranate. Their whisky selection is something to behold as well, with more than 100 different whiskies to tempt you.

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Mamnoon
1508 Melrose Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 906-9606
mamnoonrestaurant.com

This buzzy  joint in the heart of Capitol Hill is the perfect place to impress your dinner companion. The first thing that will catch your eye when entering Mamnoon is the brilliant colors and luxe furnishings that make it the perfect setting for a memorable meal. But it’s the intense flavors of the food that will really make you sit up and take notice. From the classics like baba ghanoush to the slightly more formal roasted black cod, or mahi o gerdu, you’ll discover what dining true Middle Eastern style really means. If you are on the go and don’t have time to leisurely savor these tantalizing dishes, Mamnoon serves up some of their favorites like the harra frites, which come lightly dusted with aleppo chilli, right out of a cute “to go” window up front.

Gorgeous George’s
7719 Greenwood Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 783-0116
www.gorgeousgeorges.com

The name alone is enough to make you slow down as you drive by this Greenwood neighborhood favorite. But it’s the flavors that are coming out of the kitchen that will make you want to pull over, park and hope there is a free table inside. This menu in this cozy enclave of Middle Eastern cooking is full of family recipes. Nosh on some stuffed grape leaves or spinach pies, but make sure not to fill up before the main entree arrives because Gorgeous George’s is known for their plentiful platters. George’s namesake platter pleases diners with its varied combos of kabobs including kafta, shish and shish tawook. Another favorite is aptly called the “combo delight,” which features jumbo char broiled shrimp and char grilled filet mignon all served with a generous side of grilled veggies. And no meal would be complete with the sweet taste of baklava at the end.

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Fez on Wheels (Photo: Jenise Silva)


Fez On Wheels
Various locations
Seattle, WA
fezonwheels.com

Tracking down Fez on Wheels is fairly easy. You can check out their website for that day’s location, or just look for the bright red food truck with the long lines of people lining up in front of the window to order some of the best Middle Eastern food on four wheels. Their flat bread sandwiches are all the rage — and why not? The falafel comes with sumac macerated red onions, the chicken has a touch of dill and lemon pearl cous cous and the lamb comes replete with smoky baba ganoush. Of course, you’ll need something to wash down these tasty sandwiches, and the sweet mint iced tea made with tamarind and rose lemonade is up to the task.

Jenise Silva is a freelance writer in Seattle who has studied culinary, visual and performing arts. She penned the financial planning guide Women & Money, and has been writing about food and the arts for a number of years. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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